Located in the South of Scotland, the Sweetheart Abbey was built in the 13th Century. Today the ruins of the church are still standing.
Its story is about Lady Devorgilla founding this monastery in tribute to her late husband, her sweetheart...
Below is my guide to plan your visit.
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Why visit the Sweetheart Abbey in Scotland?
Founded in 1273, the Sweetheart Abbey (or in Latin Dulce Cor Abbey) was built in memory of John Balliol by his grieving widow Lady Dervorgilla.
Today remain the ruins of its church St Mary and some rocks delimiting the various rooms that used to surround it. The church tower still stands in the center of the church.
Below is a short video to give you an idea of what a visit could look like:
More photos after the planning tips.
PLANNING TIPS - Sweetheart Abbey, Scotland
Getting to Sweetheart Abbey near Dumfries
- In the South of Scotland, along A710 in New Abbey Bridge
- 20 min South of Dumfries
- Postcode: DG28BU
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- Sweetheart Abbey opening hours - 9:30am to 5:30pm (April to September), 10am to 4pm (October to March - might be closed some days) - as everywhere last entry 30min before closing time
- Adult price - £6 - included in the Explorer Pass
- Toilet at the parking
- Small village around
- You can see it from the parking if you just want to have a look from the outside
- Plan 30min to 1 hour to explore it depending on your interest
- Further on the Central Trail is Dundrennan Abbey which I chose not to visit. The arches are more in height but the ruins are smaller.
- Check out the best rated accommodations around Dumfries
Access to Sweetheart Abbey
The Village of Newtown Abbey surround the ruins. The main road leads to a corn mill and has a lot of charms.
When you enter the site through the arch, the ticket booth is on your right.
The abbey from the outside
A lot of the St Mary church is still standing. The church was planned in the shape of a cross. As you can see the central bell tower is still standing as well as many of the arches. Whereas the rest of the monastery where the monks lived was destroyed.
The tower reaches 28 meters (92 feet).
Below is the view from the parking lot:
And a view from the ticket booth.
This display from the site, shows what the monastery looked like in its full glory:
The love story of the Abbey of Sweetheart
This Cisterian Monastery was founded by Lady Deverogilla in memory of her late husband Lord John Balliol. When he died in 1268, she had his heart embalmed and placed in a special casket. She called it her "sweet, silent, companion". She buried her husband at the Sweetheart Abbey. When she died in 1289, she was too was buried there and the monks named the abbey Dulce Cor meaning Sweetheart.
Exploring the ruins
I must admit it was not my favorite abbey, I preferred the atmosphere of Melrose Abbey and the Grandiose of Jedburgh Abbey in the Borders (posts to be published). But the settings, the state of the Bell tower and the arches detailed made the exploring interesting. Here is a selection of pictures of Sweetheart Abbey:
Red sandstone and detailed work
Below are some more close-up photos to show you the charm of the red sandstone and the detailed work in the arches
Want to see more of SCOTLAND?
Discover more things to do & places to see in my Travel Scotland Destination Guide.
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